Having won the National Asphalt Rally Championship title five years running (2010-2014 inc.) and again in 2016 (the series didn’t run in 2017), Damian Cole hopes that his Get Connected Ford Fiesta WRC – a car that began life eight years ago as a M-Sport/Petter Solberg test car – will carry him to another title.
With five scores from six counting towards the title, success is not guaranteed – especially as Damian hasn’t competed in Belgium for the best part of 20 years, and Round 3 of the 2018 Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship is the Rally van Wervik in Flanders.
He’ll also be partnered by Jamie Edwards – a co-driver who Damian has only been partnered with once before, when they acted as course car on the opening gravel day of the Nicky Grist Stages last year, in Cole’s road rally spec. Escort.
“We’ll be concentrating on the Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship this year and trying to win it for a seventh time,” says Damian.
“Reliability will be a big factor this year, with five scores from six rallies to count. Someone winning two or three rallies but non-scoring on a few will be beaten by someone finishing second five times, so it really is all to play for.
“I’ve got unfinished business on the Manx National – having finished third three times and second once, it’s an event I’d dearly love to win. The Down Rally is new, but I’ve done the Ulster and the Circuit of Ireland, so I have an idea of what the stages are like. And then there is Belgium! I’ve done one event in Belgium about eighteen or nineteen years ago, so the Rally van Wervik is going to be a good challenge.
“I’m looking forward to a good Protyre MSA Asphalt Rally Championship with a lot of close competition and rallies won by a handful of seconds. That’s what everyone wants to see, and I think it’s going to be a great season.”